Microsoft pushes for IT management delivered as a cloud service

The latest Microsoft Management Summit has wrapped up, and on top of the software giant's IT management agenda for the coming year is cloud and SaaS-based delivery. How close is the vendor to this vision?

The latest Microsoft Management Summit has wrapped up, and on top of the software giant's IT management agenda for the coming year is cloud and SaaS-based delivery.

ZDNet colleague Mary Jo Foley provides a very comprehensive overview of the new initiatives and offerings coming out of Redmond intended to support IT management, including a management portal codenamed Concero, that will enable administrators to manage both their private and public cloud infrastructure. Concero is the successor to the current System Center Virtual Machine Manager R2 Self Service Portal 2.0. Mary Jo also observed that Microsoft is releasing a beta of its System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 product, with a final GA version planned by the end of the year.

RedMonk's Michael Coté also provides some insightful takeaways as to what the software giant is thinking and doing, observing that there is a new thrust from Redmond on delivering IT management via SaaS:

"Thus far, success has been the exception, not the rule in delivering IT Management as a SaaS.... The common sentiment as told me by one admin last year was: well, if the Internet goes down, we’re screwed.  Windows Intune, GA’ed at MMS 2011, is a SaaS-based (or 'cloud-based,' if you prefer) service for desktop management – keeping the Microsoft portions of desktops up-to-date for $11-12/month/desktop. It’s not hard to imagine that Microsoft would want to extend this to servers at some point.... The feel I get from this momentum is that Microsoft would like to (after a long, multi-year 'eventually') move much of its portfolio to SaaS delivery."

Coté sees administrators coming around to SaaS thinking as well for their tooling -- "if the Internet goes down, many businesses would be dead-in-the-water regardless of the IT Management tools available."

Microsoft correctly sees the future as one that is cloud-based, but may find the transition more onerous than younger vendors, since Microsoft is built on a huge base of on-premises systems. After all, it was Microsoft that commoditized, and, for lack of a better word, minaturized IT tools and platforms so they could exist independently in every company, department, and even home.  Ceding IT management control and software to a large data center in the cloud -- even if it does make life simpler -- tugs at Microsoft's very soul.